Last Omarama dog trials on station grounds

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A century-old tradition is winding up in Omarama.
The 101st annual Omarama Collie Dog Club trials on March 9 and 10 will be the last at the traditional trial grounds at Omarama Station.
Secretary Lisa Anderson said the owners of Omarama Station wanted to continue a dryland lucerne programme, which would involve the land previously used for the four dog trial courses.
A trials site had been found _ Dalrachney Station, whose owner, Ed Aubrey, is the son of club life member Rick Aubrey.
“Ed is very dog-trially, too,” Mrs Anderson said.
Dalrachney Station, in Lindis Pass, would offer trial grounds “a stone’s throw off the main road”. That meant the club would be able to attract passing motorists, which had also been the case at Omarama Station. The club expected a big turnout for the trials. Some participants would be making a sentimental journey, while others would be testing their dogs before the South Island and New Zealand championships at Omarama Station from May 29 to June 4.
“People always come to see what the grounds and the sheep are like,” president Simon Inkersell said.
Numbers for the trials would not be known until the day, Mrs Anderson said. She estimated they would be similar to the centennial meet last year, when there were 370 individual entries across the four events.
The national championships later in the year would book out all accommodation in the area, she said. Some 300 competitors were likely to attend, bringing “at least a couple of hundred extras”.
Local people would be there in droves, with Terry and Michelle Walsh, of Omarama’s Olive Grove Cafe, catering each day.
Half the triallists would come from the North Island, Mrs Anderson said.
The nationals would boost the economy at “a reasonably quiet time of year”, Mr Inkersell said.